Friday, November 25, 2011

A nap enhances relational memory

Lau et al. make the following interesting observations:
It is increasingly evident that sleep strengthens memory. However, it is not clear whether sleep promotes relational memory, resultant of the integration of disparate memory traces into memory networks linked by commonalities. The present study investigates the effect of a daytime nap, immediately after learning or after a delay, on a relational memory task that requires abstraction of general concept from separately learned items. Specifically, participants learned English meanings of Chinese characters with overlapping semantic components called radicals. They were later tested on new characters sharing the same radicals and on explicitly stating the general concepts represented by the radicals. Regardless of whether the nap occurred immediately after learning or after a delay, the nap participants performed better on both tasks. The results suggest that sleep – even as brief as a nap – facilitates the reorganization of discrete memory traces into flexible relational memory networks.

1 comment:

  1. After learning about some of the nap related research that has been coming out over the last few years, I became a dedicated napper whenever possible. The effects on memory, concentration, and productivity have been nothing short of remarkable. 20-30 minutes is all it seems to take in order to see benefits. In fact, I generally go for either 20-30 minutes OR 90 minutes. Anything in between tends to leave me feeling groggy.